Coronavirus COVID-19 Auto News Update: GM, Beep, NAVYA, Honda & Xtime

In COVID-19 Coronavirus news are GM, Beep NAVYA, Nissan, Honda and Xtime.

GM in KoKomo Using CDC Guidelines

General Motors Co. is actively training employees at the company’s Kokomo plant in the extensive screening, cleaning and other CDC-recommended procedures that will be in place when volume production of Ventec Life Systems’ critical care ventilator begins in less than two weeks. Among the employees is UAW Local 292 member Debbie Hollis of Kokomo.

Hollis and the production team, which will grow to more than 1,000 men and women, including people who already work for GM and new hires from the Kokomo area, are also gaining hands-on exposure to Ventec’s ventilator.

“Every ventilator we build can help save lives, and GM’s global supply base and manufacturing teams, the UAW, and the Kokomo community are working with passion and unwavering commitment to get the job done,” said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president, Global Manufacturing. “People have moved mountains to help increase production of Ventec’s critical care ventilator and we are just weeks away from delivering these lifesaving devices. I have never seen anything like it in my career.”

Saving Lives and Keeping People Safe
To help protect people working at the Kokomo plant, extensive screening, cleaning and other CDC-recommended procedures will be in place.

Beep & NAVYA Provide Self-driving for May Clinic

For the first time in the United States, autonomous vehicles are being used to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 tests at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

At a time when healthcare resources and personnel are stretched thin, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has partnered with Beep and NAVYA to use autonomous vehicles to facilitate the safe transport of COVID-19 tests collected at a drive-thru testing location at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

“This deployment is a historic moment for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.  “Along with our partners Beep, NAVYA and Mayo Clinic, we are leveraging our learnings from three years of testing autonomous vehicles through our Ultimate Urban Circulator program. Our innovative team saw this as an opportunity to use technology to respond to this crisis in Northeast Florida and increase the safety of COVID-19 testing.”

On Monday, March 30, 2020, up to four autonomous vehicles began operating along an initial route, in full autonomous mode without attendants or other people onboard, to transport COVID-19 tests from a drive-thru testing site to a processing laboratory on Mayo Clinic campus.  The COVID-19 test samples are placed in secure containers prior to Mayo Clinic healthcare professionals loading the samples onto the shuttle.

The JTA, Beep, NAVYA and Bestmile teams partnered to create, test and deploy the routes for the autonomous vehicles at Mayo Clinic in Florida to address the fluid developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. The routes are isolated from pedestrians, traffic and staff. Beep, Mayo Clinic and the JTA will closely monitor the service from a mobile command center to maintain safe operation.

Beep, an autonomous shuttle fleet service provider, transported the shuttles through Eagle Express Inc. from Lake Nona, Florida, an innovation hub 150 miles away where the company is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. An additional shuttle is being utilized from the JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) program. The JTA has actively tested AV technology since 2017 to prepare for a conversion and expansion of its Skyway automated people mover in Downtown Jacksonville into a network powered by autonomous vehicles.  The use of the autonomous vehicles to safely transport and handle the COVID-19 samples is another example how these vehicles can be repurposed in times of need.

Volkswagen Chattanooga Still Closed

The health and safety of the Volkswagen team remains a high priority. Volkswagen Chattanooga will remain closed next week, extending the production suspension which began March 21. We plan to resume production Sunday, April 12 at 10 p.m.

Volkswagen Chattanooga employees will be paid for a full next week; however, all employees will be required to take paid time off on Friday, April 10. Hourly and salary non-exempt employees will have the option to take “no pay-no penalty” for this day, and salary exempt employees may use comp time.

Employees who are able to telework, such as office staff, will continue to do so April 6-9. We’re asking all employees to self-quarantine and maintain social distancing as directed by the CDC.

Nissan Still Closed

Nissan manufacturing facilities in the U.S. will remain closed through late April as a measure to help protect employees and reduce the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. Some business-essential work that must be done on site will continue with enhanced safety measures. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will make adjustments as needed.

Honda’s COVID-19 Initiatives & Customer Support

  • Honda is initiating a comprehensive new effort to harness the spirit of community in responding to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This includes a $1 million pledge to address the immediate needs of communities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico in providing the most vulnerable with access to food.
  • Other initiatives include the donation of Personal Protective Equipment and use of 3D printers in Honda operations to produce protective face shields for healthcare providers and other actions to help people combat the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click here.
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic can add financial stress to the lives of our customers, Honda and Acura have offered to help customers who have financed their vehicle through Honda Financial Services or Acura Financial Services with payment extensions and deferrals, as well as available late fee waivers.
  • Honda is also providing an industry-first special offer for first responders and medical professionals, out of respect for their contribution to our communities across the country

XTime Offers Advanced Resources

Times are changing rapidly as social distancing measures pose a challenge to day-to-day service department operations and revenue. A dealership’s fixed operations are essential during this time, and there is no greater moment to show resiliency and earn a customer’s business. To help its dealership partners seize the moment, Xtime is offering enhanced resources and multiple key features at no additional charge, helping dealers provide consumers with world-class service experiences in the changing landscape while preparing them for a more digital and profitable future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this uncertain time, the safety of dealership staff and customers is paramount. Today, best practices involve minimal person-to-person contact. Dealerships can give staff and customers peace of mind and keep business moving by adopting the following best practices:

  • Offer Vehicle Pick-Up and Delivery: With much of the population under strict orders to stay in their homes, there is no time like the present for dealers to offer a vehicle pick-up and delivery to service customers. Service Pickup and Delivery powered by Clutch provides a first-class concierge pick-up and delivery experience where permitted by state or local COVID-19 ordinances – with the option of a loaner to be dropped off when pick-up happens. This ultra-convenient option may also be also safer in the current climate as customers will only interact with one person versus other customers and the entire staff. Clutch Service Pickup and Delivery is available at no cost through the end of July 2020 with a full remote implementation in three business days.
  • Enable Online Payments: To remove additional in-person touchpoints, enabling online payment capabilities gives dealership staff and customers the confidence to do business safely while boosting payment efficiencies. Xtime’s Online Payment encourages digital payment methods that customers can request via text or email and complete transactions entirely from their own phone, computer or tablet. This feature is also now available to all Xtime clients at no cost through the end of June 2020.
  • Adopt a Digital Check-In Process: Give customers the ability to check-in with their phone. Similarly, provide options to sign off on service recommendations to further promote social distancing while engaging them throughout the process. Self Check-In from Xtime makes a seamless and personalized check-in process possible while minimizing unnecessary face-to-face contact thereby protecting employees and customers. Self Check-In is a new feature that is available now for no additional charge for all Xtime Engage clients.
  • Exercise Social Distancing Among Staff: Protect your staff by minimizing high traffic areas and employee in-person interactions by promoting the use of digital communication channels within the dealership and between departments themselves. Intra-Dealer Chat blends the best of Inspect and Xtime mobile to facilitate intradepartmental communication without contact and offers a “low touch” experience to customers who can chat with staff using their own personal devices as well. Intra-Dealer Chat is included for no additional charge with Xtime Inspect.

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